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Wai’opae (Kapaho) Tidepools


Waiopae Tidepools

Wai’opae (Kapaho) Tidepools
near Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii * http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/coral/mlcd_waiopae.html *
The Wai ‘Opae Tidepools is one of the hottest snorkeling areas near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. It resembles a barrier reef. Its a protected Marine Life conservation district. The southern half of the tide pools were placed into this district by a community initiative to protect this fragile ecosystem. Apparently the area was previously pillaged of its marine life until it became protect. It is still open to the public to snorkel in and appreciate. No commercial activities can be done in the area without a permit and nothing that can compromise the ecology. The area is a fish nursery so is also abundant with young fish. A shallow basalt ridge on the seaward side of the pools causes waves to break but also allowing excellent water circulation by northeast trade-wind generated swells that support the life in the reef. Inside the tidepools is a maze of pools that weave around for the snorkelers to swim through. Lots of fish and coral. There are also closer to shore on the right hand side, cold water springs that flow into the area. Directions: Drive south from Hilo on Hwy 11 (Hawaii Belt road) to the intersection of Hwy 130 (Keaau-Pahoa Road) and veer left. Follow until intersects with Hwy 132 (Kapoho Road) and turn left, follow 132 til it ends, with a hard right onto Hwy 137 (Kapoho Kalapana Rd). The last road is Kapoho Kai drive – turn left here and follow road to its end, turn left, and around the bend, nestled to a small housing community called “Vacationland”, you’ll see a small parking area on the righ side of the road. There are no facilities. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.


Waiopae Tidepools

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